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‘Pressing’ call for retained firefighters in Ottery

11:00 23 August 2014

Recruits are being sought as retained friefighters at the Ottery station. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref sho 2633-34-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders

Recruits are being sought as retained friefighters at the Ottery station. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref sho 2633-34-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders


The fire service has issued a pressing call for retained crew members in Ottery as short-staffing leaves the station closed three days a week.

In their place, engines from Sidmouth and Honiton have to attend incidents – costing crucial minutes in speeding to emergencies.

Fit and healthy prospective firefighters are invited to the Canaan Way station for an open evening at 7pm on Wednesday (August 27).

Station commander Gary Shaw said: “It’s a pressing need – we’re short and that means that there aren’t enough staff to crew the appliance.

“The next nearest stations are Sidmouth and Honiton and it takes another five minutes.

“These are time-critical situations so it’s fairly crucial we recruit more people.”

He has worked as a full-time and retained firefighter for 25 years and said that, at its best, it can be an exciting, rewarding role.

Ottery’s team of 12 ‘units’ has diminished as individuals moved away and retired, so needs at least three more members. No previous experience is necessary but prospective crew members should start with a commitment to the community, a positive attitude and a good level of fitness.

They can be men or women and should live or work within five minutes of the station.

A service spokesman said applicants need to be over 18 with a good level of fitness and strength but people, particularly women, overestimate the levels required and get put off from applying.

Living with a disability is also not necessarily a barrier to firefighting; it depends on the nature of disability.


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